Michelle Garibay Events takes the stage today. Michelle is a total planning superstar–if you don’t already think the same by seeing her awesome photos, then you’ll agree after you read about her most memorable moment with a couple. She is truly something else, we’re so honored to have Michelle as a vendor on WeddingPlannerLove!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
I lived in San Diego for over 14 years and my background is in corporate and political events. I actually had fun planning my own wedding and I am a very decisive person so I had it all done in 3 months with the rest of the time spent enjoying my engagement. Once my husband’s career sent us to Oahu, the light bulb went off and I made the jump to wedding planning and started my company. We lived on the island for 5 years and once my husband retired, we headed back home to Southern California at the end of 2010.
With the return to California, I really decided to focus on my niche – specializing in assisting Southern California couples with their weddings on Oahu. With the experience of actually living and working in Hawaii, I have a unique service to offer my couples, providing peace of mind to them for their destination wedding by getting to work with them in person but I also maintain vendor and industry relationships on the island, as well as coordination staff. Most of the time couples don’t get to meet their consultant until they arrive for their wedding, so this provides a huge advantage for them! I also provide service to those couples who want to have a Temecula Winery wedding since that is where I am physically located.
When I’m not flying to Hawaii to work, or enjoying my involvement with the Temecula Valley Wedding Professionals, I love entertaining at home with my husband of almost 10 years, relaxing with Pinterest on my iPad (pinning wedding inspiration and tips, of course!) and spending time with our two children, Madison and Carson, both of whom were born in Hawaii.
Learn more about Michelle Garibay Events after the jump…
2. How did you get into wedding planning?
My background is in corporate event and political fundraising, but once I had the opportunity to plan my own wedding and realize, for me, how simple it was, I made the transition. Planning your own wedding is supposed to be FUN and for me, it was. I was able to be a bride on my own wedding day, too without stressing about the details since I knew they were covered. I had my wedding planned and vendors booked in 3 months. I know this sounds cliché, but I did find my true calling and have been going strong for 6 years.
3. What’s your favorite part of the job?
Assisting my clients develop their wedding vision and seeing all of the design elements come together on paper and knowing that my recommendations are right on target to what they want. Even more exciting is seeing my clients’ reactions on the wedding day when the vision comes to life.
4. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding planners just getting started?
I’ve learned a few! Be honest with yourself and your clients about what their budgets will allow and don’t promise the moon if you know it is not possible. Clients look to you as their wedding expert and as their consultant it is your responsibility to advise them on the best course of action for their vision and budget. If you allow yourself to lose sight of that, you lose control of the event itself and the respect of your clients. Also, you don’t need to inform your bride of every little hiccup on the wedding day, unless it is something MAJOR. Just address it and/or fix it and move on – quickly. That is what you are paid for. You have been hired to manage the biggest day in your bride’s life and take the stress of the bride’s shoulders so why on earth would you inform her of things that will stress or upset her?!
5. What are your hobbies or non-work-related activities?
I love to cook, entertain and travel and spend time with my two little ones, Madison and Carson.
6. Any great stories from working with a client?
I don’t know if it was great, but it was memorable! I ordered chocolate brown table linen from a rental company that was in my client’s budget for a 100-person event. They were set on all of the tables of the ballroom the night before the event per the hotel’s request, as well as the place settings and glassware. When I arrived the next morning for set up, the linen delivered was the wrong shade (more like a burgundy-brown) and not floor length as I had requested. It looked awful, especially when the light hit them! At this point the hotel had completed their set up and the florist was setting centerpieces. Without the bride knowing it, I made the insane call a few hours prior to the ceremony start time to have the hotel staff remove everything off the tables, call in a huge favor to my couture linen vendor to replace all of the linen with her own much better product. She was able to accommodate me only because she had them in inventory and finished her event set up. She drove all the way across island 40 minutes away to pick them up and bring them back to me at the hotel. We frantically re-set the tables, the bride and groom were able to have a “sneak peak” of their room (and were blown away!) and opened the doors to the reception on time! It certainly pays to have great relationships with your vendors. She saved my event that day and only charged me the dry cleaning. The client had no idea what I had done nor where they charged. I covered the additional costs since it was my decision to deliver a product I knew the bride would be much happier with. All that mattered was that it was exactly what she expected when she walked into the room. I did request and receive a refund from the other linen company, however, and a got a glowing review from the bride.
7. What is your current favorite color combination?
Currently I love aqua and shades of coral/peach, but blush pink will always be a favorite.
8. Are there any trends that you absolutely love or would love to see brides leave behind?
I love it when clients want to infuse their personal stories and details into their weddings to make them truly their own and not a carbon copy of something seen in a magazine. Details should not be afterthoughts…signature drinks named after their dog, fun facts about them on table number cards, a coffee table book from the city where they met or got engaged used as a guest book, etc.
A trend I would love to see go away are buffets at weddings! So tacky to have guests (and sometimes brides and grooms) herd into a line for food! A wedding should be an amazing sensory experience and the food is part of that. Plated dinners don’t have to be stuffy and guests don’t have to be limited on what they can eat – have fun with the presentation or go with family style service for a more intimate, casual affair. Let your caterer design a menu that reflects who you are as a couple, and don’t just auto-pilot with buffet just because you think it is “cheaper.”